I have had this book for quite some time in my collection, probably over five years in fact and it wasn't until recently I picked it up, due to a good friend here on GoodReads who prized it as a favourite book.
Strangely, I'd say that I have no real interest in Japan despite having read Memoirs of a Geisha and Tales of the Otori both which are set in Japan or Japanese based. I think Shogun has brought me out of the closet in that respect and I'm very interested now in reading more fiction set in Japan and perhaps also some non-fiction. I can see the appeal for many people who become obsessed with this side of the world.
I thought it was a beautifully written book, though at the beginning I thought perhaps the necessary explanations of Japanese things to be a bit heavy handed at times. However it has an addictive quality - the story never stops, the characters are interesting and unpredictable. They say one thing and mean another, always plotting and planning and you can never be sure what will happen in the next few pages.
The love story between Blackthorne and Mariko is one of the most beautiful, and best written love stories I have ever read. So beautiful, so true and so real that even now thinking of it, I feel personally touched.
The characters are so real they live in you. It is a story that exists not within the pages but somewhere in that world between book and soul.
I am so glad I read this.
Edited to Say: Whenever I listen to the soundtracks of Memoirs of a Geisha or The Last Samurai I think of Shogun now, as I read it to that music. I am listening to it right now and I feel such longing to be reading this for the first time over again. It is strange how music and books and smells and other senses effect your memories.